The Collected Works of Author and Blogger Larry Roberts

Archive for 2010

Last week when I wrote about Private Property Rights: A Casualty of the Housing Bubble, I didn't fully grasp the seriousness of the problem facing our system of property rights. We live in a nation of laws. Our laws of ownership of property are the basis of our economic system. These laws are being threatened. Barry Ritholtz quoted Hernando de Soto, The Mystery of Capital: “In the West, this formal property system begins to process assets into capital by describing and organizing the most economically and socially useful aspects about assets, preserving this information in a recording system—as insertions in a written ledger or a blip on a computer disk—and then embodying it in a title. A set of detailed…[READ MORE]

Are foreign cash buyers savvy investors who are taking advantage of low prices to snap up bargains, or are they the fools who purchase overprices assets that natives won't touch? Often its a little of both. I always enjoy reading Rich Toscano's writing, and back in 2006, he wrote a brief post on what generally happens when foreign investment becomes prevalent in a market. The Dumb Money RICH TOSCANO -- December 20, 2006 One argument I hear a lot is that foreign demand for local real estate has grown substantially in recent years, and that such foreign demand will be supportive of prices in the future. Unfortunately, this argument puts the cart squarely in front of the horse. Investors from…[READ MORE]

What do you do when the people who are supposed to protect you and serve your interests steal from you? Protest? To whom? What do you do when the government that is supposed to look out for us steals our money and gives it to greedy and corrupt corporations and bankers? It's happening to you right now. The greatest heist in our country’s history by PAUL JACKSON -- Tuesday, October 5th, 2010, 5:29 pm Our economy is being stolen from us, and our nation’s real estate crisis is providing cover for what will — if it goes unchallenged — go down as one of the greatest heists in our country’s history. Yes, a mortgage crisis of historic proportions has now suddenly become…[READ MORE]

In housing markets where a significant number of properties are being converted from owner-occupied to rental status, there is no government program or help for this transition to occur. Without government help, prices fall far below fundamental valuations as the imbalance of supply and demand becomes extreme. The only solution is to reduce supply and increase demand. To accomplish this, I propose that the GSEs promote investor programs that reduce the cost of ownership to small investors and encourage them to keep the supply off the resale market. I am about to argue for something that would benefit me personally, so take everything which follows with a dose of skepticism. I would like to think I can set my personal biases aside…[READ MORE]

I recently wrote that squatting is becoming a way of life for many delinquent borrowers. Of course, this doesn't meet the technical definition of squatting which is possession of real estate without the owner's permission. In this instance, the squatters are technically still the owners of property, so there is nothing illegal going on, but these owners are generally hopelessly underwater and failing to make their mortgage payments. They are in possession of real estate that can be called to auction at the discretion of their lender at any time. Ultimately, they will lose their homes. Today, we are going to look at other forms of squatting from the traditional adverse possession to the return of former owners who couldn't leave their…[READ MORE]

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